I was supposed to have a ship visit and so was exempt from the crew drill planned for that day in San Juan, Puerto Rico. At the last moment the ship visit was cancelled, but I was still exempt. So after a quick scurry to chat to the tour manager I was lucky enough to be given the horseriding excursion. I was super excited as it has been years since I have been riding and it isn’t often we get to go on the excursions we hope for. A quick presto packo, to stick my jeans in my bag (technically we are not allowed to wear jeans when we are working, but horseriding in my excursion shorts was not going to happen) and I was off.
To get to Carabali Rainforest Park there is about an hour drive, so I sat back relaxed and snacked on the croissants I had grabbed in the mess (sshhh don’t tell anyone I took them).
Once we got there I quickly changed and then headed over to the briefing. The guys from Carabali were fantastic, super professional and great fun. They sorted us into beginner and experienced (further separated into “been on horse at least 3 times” and “have a good idea of what we are doing”).
I have done some lessons, back in the dark ages in University, and have some idea of what I am doing, so I was given “Tyson”. As I mounted him my guide told me “he is great but has an attitude, he doesn’t like to be in the back”. That was an understatement, it was me first all the way. But he was a super sweet horse and once I got used to his bouncy canter we were right as rain.
We rode through the edges of only true tropical rainforest in the territories of the USA.It was spectacular and reminded me a lot of where I grew up in South Africa. The main difference being, while we had vervet monkeys swinging through the trees, here giant iguanas sun themselves on the palms.
During the beginning of the trail our guide had us stop and he dismounted, then he started telling us all about jungle bananas. they are much smaller but taste like 5 bananas combined into one little mini banana. I had tasted them before in Ecuador when I worked in the Amazon (feel free to browse previous blogs from 2011 for those fantastic adventures), and remembered how good they were.
Photo Stops and Face Painting
It was truly relaxing and beautful making our way through the jungle, chatting with the guests (usually as Tyson pushed past to get near the front) and the guides. We stopped in an open glade for a photo stop and then headed to the river.
All in all a fantastic day and I loved every minute of it. I highly recommend anyone who is the general area of Puerto Rico to visit the Carabali Rainforest Park and go for a horse ride.